Speaker Profile

Ph.D., Professor, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Margaret (Peg) Riley has championed an alternative to the current paradigm in antibiotic discovery, one that recognizes the power of targeted therapeutic interventions, resulting in lower levels of antibiotic resistance and reduced collateral damage to the microbiome. She provides “proof of principle” for this approach utilizing the diverse family of bacteriocins. These efforts have identified candidates for use in treating TB and UTI’s. Dr. Rliey and her students created a new venture, Organicin Scientific, whose mission is to develop bacteriocin-based biopesticides for use in treating bacterial disease in plants, such as citrus greening and Fire blight. She is committed to engaging the public in science and has appeared with Bill Nye in his TV shows and podcasts and created the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences in 2007. In 1991 she joined the faculty at Yale, where she was honored with the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award and an NIH FIRST Award. In 2004 she accepted a faculty position at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Peg Riley earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from University of Massachusetts in 1981, her Ph.D. in population genetics from Harvard University, and she conducted her postdoctoral work at the University of Massachusetts.

Rethinking The Composition Of A Rational Antibiotic Arsenal In The Age Of The Microbiome
This talk will cover Dr. Riley's research on the development of targeted bacteriocin-based antimicrobials, whose use results in lower levels of antibiotic resistance and limits collateral damage to the microbiome. Her lab is applying these same approaches to develop bacteriocin-based biopesticides, to limit the need for anti-biotic use in food production and thus reduce the exposure of our microbiomes to food-based antibiotics.

 Session Abstract – PMWC Silicon Valley

Understanding mechanism of action and translating microbiome science into commercially viable therapeutics remains the biggest challenge in this emerging field. With that said, pharma and biotech across many different therapeutic indications and modalities are united in this global effort to bring novel microbiome-based therapies and diagnostics into the clinical domain. This session will include some of the most impactful and promising areas of the microbiome field:

  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)
    To date, FMT, or the transfer of donor feces containing gut microbiota from a healthy individual to restore microbial diversity in patients, has been used for the treatment of patients with chronic gastrointestinal infections and inflammatory bowel diseases. Now there is great interest in its therapeutic potential for other applications. This session will explore the use of FMT for IBD, IBS, metabolic syndrome, neurodevelopmental disorders, and autoimmune diseases, among others.
    - Tor Savidge, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Microbiome Profiling through “Omics” Methods
    Advances in sequencing and analysis tools have provided unprecedented insight and resolution into the microbiome and is enabling researchers and clinicians to monitor shifts in the microbiome-- from taxonomic profiling to metabolomics and proteomics. This session will uncover some of the latest and most advanced tools for microbiome analysis and where the current trends are taking the industry next.
    - Tor Savidge, Baylor College of Medicine
    - Martha Carlin, The BioCollective
    - Lihi Segal, TwoDay
  • The Skin Microbiome
    Human skin is populated by diverse bacteria and there is increasing evidence that resident bacteria play a key role initiating immune responses in numerous diseases. This session will look at techniques to modulate the skin microbiome composition as a therapeutic option in diseases affecting the skin such as psoriasis and acne vulgaris.
    - Mark S. Wilson, MatriSys Bioscience
    - Larry Weiss, Persona Biome, Inc.
  • Microbiome Modulation by Diet
    Advances in microbiome research are spurring the development of new therapeutics for a variety of diseases. This session will explore recent discoveries in gut microbiome interventions for promoting human health and combating disease. These approaches include microbiome modulation or direct impact on the host through nutritional intervention, either by prebiotics or by individualized diets.
    - Colleen Cutcliffe, Pendulum Therapeutics
  • Gastroenterology & the Microbiome
    This session will take the perspective of the clinician, as the microbiome approaches the clinic and will focus on how novel microbiome science can be communicated to classically trained gastroenterologists and other clinicians, in order to prepare them to bring these practices to patients.
    - Haroldo Magarinos, BioVital Health
  • Regulatory Affairs & Standardization
    Uniform, rigorous, and unbiased experimental and regulatory approaches, similar to the careful and stringent testing and approval processes practiced in other human interventions, will allow the safe and efficacious long-term integration of microbiome-based therapies into the treatment of a variety of different diseases. This session will address the standardization work done to date and what the next big challenges are to be addressed.
    - Scott A. Jackson, NIST
  • Pre-Clinical & Clinical Development
    A new and exciting aspect of mirobiome research focuses on personalization of interventions, as well as harnessing the inherent individualized variability in microbiomes and other physiological features. This session will aim to provide insight into best practices and the pitfalls to avoid.
    - Karim Dabbagh, Second Genome
    - Nikole Kimes, Siolta Therapeutics
    - Mary Conrad, Axial Therapeutics
    - Jackie Papkoff, Assembly Biosciences